Tennessee will become the latest US state where residents will be allowed to carry guns without a permit after Governor Bill Lee signed an “open carry” bill, a local media report said.
The “constitutional carry” law which takes effect July 1 will allow most citizens over 21 years old and legally in possession of their handguns to carry them in public without further authorisation, dpa news agency quoted the Tennessean newspaper as saying in its report.
“I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their (2nd Amendment) rights. Thank you members of the General Assembly and NRA for helping get this done,” the Governor tweeted on Thursday.
The bill has been backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
But leading law enforcement groups in Tennessee oppose it, arguing that the change could lead to increases crime and make police officers more vulnerable, according to the Tennessean report.
Of the 50 US states, 31 generally allow what is called open carry in public places without a permit or license, although firearms are still prohibited in specific locations in those states.
President Joe Biden spoke out in favour of gun control on Thursday.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. Let me say it again: Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said in a speech on gun violence prevention at the White House Rose Garden.
“Every day in this country, 316 people are shot. Every single day. A hundred and six of them die every day,” he asserted.
He urged the US Congress to pass stricter gun laws.